Reading the story with eyes wide open

 Gate Pa – Epiphany 1 2013


Hebrew Scripture:      Isa 43:1-7 
Psalm:                         Psalm 29        
Epistle:                        Acts 8: 14-17
Gospel:                        Luke 3:15-17,21-22

What I want to say:

1. I want to explore the assumptions that prevent us really reading stories of scripture, particularly the gospels
2. I want to explore the story of Jesus’ baptism to ask again:
            who are we
            whose are we
            what is outs to do?

What I want to happen:

1. I want people to read stories of the gospels with fresh eyes
2. ask question – what does God say to us through our baptism

The Sermon

      1.      Introduction:

When we read stories like baptism of Jesus there are a couple of this that get in the way of really reading that story
            thought spend a few minutes looking at those things.

      2.      All Too Familiar

just too familiar
we think we know what is happening
sometimes, like with stories like baptism Jesus, this story that we know is really a a merged version of that story
classic example of this is the Christmas story
we all know the Christmas story don’t we
but stories in gospels are very different
different because trying to do different things
gospels are no history books
not biographies
they are books of theology
            talking about who God is though telling us who they understand Christ to be
            theologies are different
loose that when merge stories
lets explore

      3.      Christmas revisited

·        who tells Christmas story?
small groups
·        what are the differences?
·        why do you think there are those differences?
ð  discuss
four stories of baptism in gospels, all slightly different
            go home and read them and ask,
·        how are the baptism stories different and the same?
·        why do you think there are those differences?


      4.      Bring our world view

Second thing that stops us really hearing the story is bring C21st century world view to it all
     ð  who was shocked by Acts reading?
     ð  Jesus age
o   how would you describe Jesus at age 30?
“In the cities of antiquity nearly a third of the live births were dead before age six. By the mid-teens 60 percent would have died, by the mid-twenties 75 percent, and 90 percent by the mid-forties. Perhaps 3 percent reached their sixties. Few low-status people lived out their thirties. The ancient glorification of youth and veneration of the elderly (who in non-literate societies are the only repository of community memory and knowledge) are thus easily understood. Moreover, we might note that at thirty (Luke 3:23) Jesus was not a young man, that much of his audience would have been younger than he, disease-ridden, and looking at a decade or less of life expectancy.”
Bruce Malina; Richard L. Rohrbaugh. Social Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (Kindle Locations 5095-5098). Kindle Edition.
     ð  read baptism repentance – what comes to mind?
repentance + forgiveness is not about individual moral acts
about families
            debt and loss of land
                        loss of status, place in society
                        exclusion from community
                        loss of means income
            forgiveness was about forgiveness of debt and restoration of land, and honour, and the place in the community.
what then is John’s baptism in that light?
what is Jesus baptism in that light?
            Things to keep in mind in the discussion
John clear in all stories that he is not Messiah
feels like still communities following John, all gospel writers want sort this out, include those communities within their own movement
winnowing fork – not about individual people, but acts and motivations of people
establishes Jesus identity
            a. suffering servant Isaiah 42 – theme Luke continue develop in next chapter
            b. in Middle Easter world, as in many places – establishing patriarchal lineage very important,
establishes your identity, your place in society, who you belong to and who you do not belong to like Maori whakapapa
            establishes what can and can’t do
especially important for ruling class
            role in society-  positions – priest, king, etc…
in Luke – baptism is almost incidental
            yes Jesus is baptised
            he is part of that group
Dove comes after baptism